JEFFERSON COUNTY–Officials in Jefferson County on Tuesday released a “community briefing” video outlining the county government’s strategy and response to the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, or coronavirus, in Colorado. The briefing includes updates from the county manager, emergency management director, representatives from Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH), and Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader. That video is embedded below.
“We are doing everything possible to limit and slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Jefferson County Manager Don Davis. “Current public health efforts are focused on containing the spread of this virus and mitigating the impact of this virus.”
“We have activated our public health emergency operations plan, and are using the incident command system for enhanced and coordinated response efforts,” added Christine Billings, incident commander from JCPH, which is the lead county agency for the coronavirus response effort.
Since the release of the video, three cases of presumptive positive tests for cornavirus have been reported in Jefferson County, including a man in his 50s who, according to a news release, is isolated in a medical facility, and an elderly couple who recently returned from a cruise. Thirty-three people have thus far tested positive for the virus around Colorado, and Governor Polis on Tuesday declared a state of emergency around the coronavirus outbreak.
According to Dr. Mark Johnson, Executive Director of JCPH, “Current symptoms for COVID-19 include things like fever, cough and shortness of breath.” People who have the virus “may be infectious from the onset of their symptoms,” continued Johnson, adding that there is currently no vaccine to protect against the virus, and no medications approved to try to treat it. If you are experiencing these symptoms, Johnson recommends staying at home and managing the symptoms as long as you can, and to schedule a visit to a doctor if you think you need it, letting them know you may have the virus so they can be prepared for it. Johnson also suggests calling ahead to an emergency room or urgent care before going. “We want to reduce the transmission to the extent possible.”
Sheriff Shrader noted that Jeffco residents may see a “slightly different” response from calls to police and fire agencies, chief among those being the possibility of emergency responders showing up wearing protective gear different than in a regular circumstance, and the possibility of those calling being asked to don protective gear as well, if they appear sick. “And we would ask that you comply,” urges Shrader.
JCPH suggests the following to avoid catching or spreading the virus:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing and sneezing, throw the tissue away and then wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your face including your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid being around anyone with cold- or flu-like symptoms.
- If you’re sick, stay home and away from public places.
- Get a flu shot if you have not had yours yet.